With a one percent sales tax collected in the city set to expire next year, the Booneville City Council last week approved ordinances seeking an another five year term for the tax.
Although one ordinance passes sets a Feb. 11, 2020 vote on the measure, City Clerk Gayleene West said last week that date is tentative pending approval of county and state election officials.
Should a change be necessary, she said, there is ample time to repeal last week’s ordinance and pass another with a different date.
For the first time the renewal request passed by the council does not include a distribution formula change.
The current formula calls for the tax to a city improvement account to receive 30 percent of the collections and the police department another 22 percent. The fire department and Area Agency/Senior Center get 10 percent each; the airport 7 percent; the street department, parks commission and animal control 5 percent each; the BDC/Chamber 4 percent and the Oak Hill Cemetery fund 2 percent.
City of Booneville voters have five times approved the tax, typically overwhelmingly, the last time in March of 2015 by a count of 81-3.
When the tax was initially passed in 1995 it did so with 73.1 percent of the vote. In 2000 it was approved with 86.3 percent of the vote. In 2005 the measure was approved with 83.7 percent of the vote.
Put on a primary ballot 10 years ago the approval was still a two-to-one margin although the 566 votes cast was the most ever cast on the question.
Collections for 2019 are on pace for the tax to eclipse the $700,000 mark for the first time.
Following the loss of the Cargill plant to a fire in 2008, sales tax collections began to decline and even when amounts leveled, collections were routinely in the $40,000 to $45,000 range each month.
Following the opening of a Walmart Supercenter in March of 2015, and the TSC and Dollar Tree franchise openings in the former Walmart home, $50,000 collections began to be the norm with the occasional $60,000 level reached through 2018.
This year there have been five months in which the collection exceeded $60,000. Though the last two months collections were not among the, those have included taxes collected on internet sales, which took effect in the state on any purchases by state residents on July 1.
In other matters during the council’s regularly scheduled meeting for October, the an ordinance was passed to establish closed hours of city parks, Don Murray was reappointed to the Booneville Water Commission, and the council was presented a letter urging them to reestablish the former amounts of dues given to the Chamber of Commerce.
The parks ordinance was necessary to establish operation hours for Raney Park, which is the connecting park between Veteran’s and Marcelle Phillips parks. The ordinance calls for all parks to be closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The dues letter was presented by Aaron Brewer but was signed by Chamber director Susan Bulger, who recently announced she would be leaving the position but would remain on the job through late November to help with the budget process.
In September the council approved a suggestion by Mayor Jerry Wilkins to reduce the amount of dues paid by the city and its water department. Both entities were members and paying $6,250 annually but they now pay $3,000 each, or $250 per month apiece.
The council took no action on the request.